The Wife of the President, Elizabeta Gjorgievska, participated in the panel discussion “Istanbul Convention and the new Law on Prevention and Protection from Violence against Women – What will change in the approach to prevention and protection from violence against women?”, organized by the UNFPA Office in the Republic of North Macedonia, in cooperation with the Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Welcoming the process of operationalization of the Law on Prevention and Protection from Violence, which will enable functional services and mechanisms that will strengthen support for victims of violence, the President’s Wife said that the adoption of the Istanbul Convention gives a broad framework as a country to intervene in several areas, to bring better legal solutions, to work on strengthening the capacities of institutions and the civil sector. In that regard, she said that interventions are needed at several levels and in several areas in order to successfully deal with violence against women.
“Dealing with gender-based violence, especially violence against women and girls, needs to be our daily obligation and responsibility, because we need to not just talk, we need to support, we need to encourage victims to break their silence and oppose, because there is always a way out”, Gjorgievska said, emphasizing the need for the competent institutions to be impeccably efficient in providing prevention and protection.
In her address, President Pendarovski’s Wife also pointed out that victims are often not encouraged to take steps for their own protection because they do not know if they will be able to receive immediate assistance or survive economically. She stressed that victims need encouragement to report and to know that they will not face condemnation and stigma. It is especially important, Gjorgievska added, that victims have easily accessible information about support services if they decide to leave their home or the community that is the source of the violence.
“Responsibility and timely response should be expected from the judicial bodies that should deliver justice to the victims, as well as from the services that should provide services for protection and recovery of victims of violence”, Gjorgievska said, concluding that the distrust in institutions, the shame of condemnation and fear of repercussions are the main causes of violence against women.
The President’s Wife stressed the importance of partnering with UN agencies, especially with the UNFPA mission, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, the Ministry of Interior and other government ministries, but also with the international community, especially with representatives of the United Kingdom, European Union and, of course, the civil society sector, to create a system for prevention and protection from gender-based violence. Therefore, she pointed out that the efforts and strong commitment today would create a secure structure of support in the future, which would encourage potential victims to report, as it is the only way to receive support and protection services, which will also guarantee that perpetrators of violence will be punished.
She pointed out that the institutions have an obligation and responsibility to fight for these goals. We must give factual and not just declarative support to the victims of violence, Gjorgievska emphasized, and help them to break the silence, to be loud and to oppose.
Today’s panel discussion marks the beginning of the project “Prevention and Protection from Gender-Based Violence in North Macedonia”.